UK Weather

What's the climate like in the UK?

Compared to other countries on the same latitude, the climate in the UK is quite mild and less extreme.

This is because the UK is an island - the surrounding water keeps the land warmer in winter but cooler in the summer.

The other reason for the milder climate in the UK is the Gulf Stream.

What is the Gulf Stream?

This is a current of warm water that flows all the way up to the UK from the Gulf of Mexico. This causes the temperatures in the UK to be less severe in the winter than those experienced in contentental European countries on the same latitude as the UK.

How cold does it get?

London in the South has an average minimum night  temperature of 0 degrees for January.

Many people are amazed when they find out that the average minimum night temperature for Glasgow, a few hundred mile north in Scotland, is 1 degree. This is because of Glasgow's closer proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.

Remember these are the average minimum temperatures for winter. During the day the average winter temperatures are 6 or 7 degrees.

What are the maximum temperatures?

Although the winter temperatures from north to south don't vary much - its cold everywhere! The South of the UK is usually warmer than the north.

London in the south enjoys average highs of 22 degrees but the average temperature in Glasgow is only 19 degrees.

This is because London has no coast and Glasgow is close to the Atlantic ocean. If you know your physics you will know that land heats up quicker than water.

Remember these are average temperatures, summer temperatures can get into the 30s during the summer.

The record temperature for the UK is 38 degrees!

Does it rain every day?

No and the rainfall varies depending in which part of the UK you are in.

Ireland and the west coast are the wettest as they are near the Atlantic Ocean where most of the cold fronts bringing the rain originate.

The east of England is the dryest part of the UK.

On average London has 14 rainy days a month. Whether or not you think this is a lot of rain should depend on where you come from. For example Taipei in Taiwan has 16 rainy days on average per month.

The average rainfall annually for the UK is 594 mm, for Taipei it  is 2100mm

What clothes should I bring?

As the UK Weather is so unpredictable even if you are arriving in the summer you will need to take sun screen, a light jacket, a jumper and an umbrella in preparation for the famous four seasons in one day!

Winter arrivals need to take some good thick clothes, a hat, scarf and gloves for when you first arrive.

Don't go over the top by taking too many clothes as there are plenty of places in the UK where you can get good quality winter clothing at reasonable prices.

If you are coming a warm climate, the winter clothes in your country probably won't be thick and heavy enough for a UK winter so plan on buying most of your winter clothing on arrival.

A final word of warning. All UK public building are heated in the winter to often very high temperatures.

Therefore don't wear to many layers of clothing, such as long underwear, that you can't take off once you are inside otherwise you will find yourself roasting in mid winter!

If you are not sure about what to take contact your local GetSet Centre and we will advise you on what to take and what to buy once you get to the UK.